Over the course of the past several months I have written on customer service, and being prepared to hire on attitude. I can’t let go of this theme as I hear of staffing issues and the constant search for good people, and I have the firm belief that a ski resort is made up of two main things, the mountain and the people who work there. I assume you have the mountain and I can’t help you there, but as to people, that is a direct reflection of who you hire, how you train and how you mange – I can help here.
I recently came across an article in INC magazine that shared an interesting perspective on the hiring issues the country is facing, not just the ski industry. Admittedly the article is germane to the higher skilled positions such as vehicle mechanics, lift maintenance technicians, snowmaking control room staff and facility technicians, more so than lift operators and servers.
The article talks about the skills and expectation gaps that exist in today’s labor market. After reading I see many attributes of the discussion that apply to the jobs I mentioned and to general hiring as well.
So what is the skills gap? It is the: “Rapid continuous innovation = large and growing skills gap. Even if educators were successful in creating curriculum relevant to current market needs, they’d need to update it at our current rate of technical change to ensure that new grads entering the workforce are ready to hit the ground running.” This is evident in mountain operations, especially in lifts and groomers – innovation from the manufacturers outpacing our ability to train staff adequately.
The expectations gap comes from the Great Recession‘s reduction of jobs creating the supposed abundant supply of qualified workers and slashing of training and hiring budgets. “The dearth of employer-provided training is just one factor driving the Expectations Gap, but it’s very real. Thirty-five years ago, the average employee got 100 hours of training per year. Fifteen years later they received 10 hours; today it’s less than 30 minutes. What’s going on? In addition to blowing up training budgets during the Recession, average employee tenures began to plummet, particularly with the entry of the self-actualizing Millennial generation into the US workforce. Across all industries, we began to hear a common lament among hiring managers, “What if I invest in training my employees and then they all leave?” From their perspective, today’s micro-tenures make investing in training a bad risk.” This is a much broader issue than the ski industry, but the effect is impacting ski resorts.
So what do you do? “Don’t hold out for the perfect talent. Hire for potential and train for perfection.”
Here is link to the full article, Inc.com/why-you-can-t-afford-to-hold-out-for-the-perfect-hire.htmlInc. This is just a starting point and it may be too late in the season to effectively address for the upcoming season, but it is something that needs constant attention. Reach out to your HR department and work with them to address this on many fronts. There isn’t one answer, it will take several tools to fill this tool box.